The prospect of an early repeat vote in Italy to break the February election gridlock has receded after the outgoing head of state rejected the idea. Giorgio Napolitano, who as president holds the power to dissolve parliament, said he doubted his successor in the post would favour the idea either. Mr Napolitano must stand down as president in mid-May. The three main political forces are sharply divided after none managed to win an outright majority. Uncertainty over the future management of the eurozone’s third-biggest economy has caused concern among Italy’s partners and investor confidence has been shaken. A protest movement led by a former comedian, Beppe Grillo, surged virtually from nowhere to take a quarter of the vote, handicapping the traditional alliances on the right and left. The centre-left bloc led by Pier Luigi Bersani won a majority in the lower house but not in the equally important upper chamber. It is expected to attempt to form a government after the new parliament meets, some time within the next fortnight.
“I’m not interested in a new vote,” Mr Napolitano told reporters on the margins of an event in Berlin, where he gave a speech. “I doubt that a new president will be thinking only of new elections,” the former Communist politician added. “We’ll have to see how to give Italy a government.”
Interviewed by La Repubblica newspaper, Mr Bersani said he hoped to form a minority government based on a loose alliance. “I am calling it a government of change, which I would take the responsibility of leading,” said the Democratic Party leader. He ruled out the possibility of an alliance with the centre-right, led by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
“I want to spell it out clearly: the idea of a grand coalition does not exist and will never exist,” he said. “You can call it what you want, a minority government, a government of limited purpose, I don’t care,” said Mr Bersani.